Gref optimistic about Chechnya rebuilding; New plan in works

Within 10 years, Chechnya will be one of the most successful regions of Russia, German Gref, Russia's acting economic development minister, declared after attending a conference here on reconstruction. As reported by sources in the government of Chechnya, Gref said the republic has all that it needs to get back on its feet, given effective management at the federal and regional levels. He also said the task of reconstruction is more manageable than might at first appear and that it can be done relatively fast.

Gref also said the federal government's plan for reconstruction here is being reviewed. In particular, the amounts to be spent under a three-year program for road and railway construction, as well as for vehicle purchases, will be increased, he said. He did not give specific figures.

Meanwhile, reconstruction spending has been halted until June 1 (except for social services), Gref said, to allow for a complete itemization of all current projects for a planned refocusing of financing on projects that are ready for actual start-up. In two weeks, the new plan is expected to be ready. Working on it are the Economic Development Ministry, the Industry and Energy Ministry and the government of Chechnya, Gref said. It is likely, he said, that the number of projects in Chechnya that are federally financed will be cut.

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